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Nikon 50mm 1.8 g review

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nikon 50 1.8g


The lens full name written on its body  Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8G SWM Aspherical, but people usually call it Nikon 50mm 1.8 g.

Nikkor 50mm 1.8 g – is a high aperture autofocus 50mm Nikon lens. This focal length is very popular. Many years ago 50mm lenses were often used on cameras as standard lenses; in our time they attract by low price, excellent image quality and performance.

Nikon 50mm 1.8 g lens is an upgrade of the legendary Nikon 50mm 1.8d from film cameras time. Modernization touched an aperture control method, optical schemes and built-in autofocus motor. The new model is more heavy and large in size.

Nikon Company has 5 autofocus 50 f/1.8 lenses:

1) Nikon 50mm 1.8d AF Nikkor (first version, MK I) – the lens was produced only in Japan from 1986 to 1990.

2) Nikon 50mm 1.8d AF Nikkor (second version, MK II) – the lens was produced in Japan and China. MK II version was produced from 1990 to 2001. MK II differs from MK I only visually.  MK I and MK II are identical optically.

3) Nikon 50mm 1.8d AF Nikkor (third version, MKIII, more commonly known as “D”-version) – the lens is produced since 2002. All lenses are made in China. Optically this version is identical to MK II and MK I. But the ability to transfer the focusing distance to the camera was added.

4) Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1.8g SWM Aspherical (fourth version, MK IV, more commonly known as “G”- version) – is presented in this review; the lens is produced since 2011; all lenses are made in China. The lens lost an aperture ring and got a built-in autofocus SWM motor. It has updated optical scheme with an aspherical element.

5) Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1.8g SWM Aspherical Special Edition (fifth version, MK V, more commonly known as “Nikon 50mm 1.8 g Special Edition”) – the lens is produced since 2013. It differs from the previous model Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1.8g SWM Aspherical only by appearance. The lens is made in the old classical style for Nikon DF cameras.

nikkor 50mm 1.8 g review

Nikon 50mm 1.8 g F/2.0

Main characteristics of Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8G SWM Aspherical.

Basic properties:

– FX – the lens was designed for full-frame Nikon FX cameras

– AF-S – the lens has built in SWM (Silent Wave Motor) autofocus motor

– G – the lens doesn’t have an aperture ring

– SIC – special integrated coating

– Aspherical – the lens has a special aspherical element.

Filter size:  58 mm; the thread for filters is plastic.

Focal length: 50 mm (for Nikon DX is 75 mm).

The multiplicity of the zoom: 1 X (this fixed focal length lens doesn’t have the possibility of changing the focal length).

Diaphragm: 7 blades.

Aperture: from f/1.8 to f/16.

Minimal focusing distance: 0.45 m, maximum reproduction ratio is 1:6.7.

Weight: 185 g.

Optical scheme: 7 elements in 6 groups.

Hood: Nikon HB-47.

Introduced: April, 2011

Made in: China

Nikon Company did not update its set of 50mm lenses for a long time. Before Nikon 50mm 1.8 g was produced photographers had a choice only between expensive models with f/1.4 and between the old non-motorized Nikkor 50mm 1.8d. With the release of the new, relatively cheap 50mm 1.8 g Nikon lens users of non-motorized cameras were able to use high-aperture 50mm lens without much investment.

nikkor 50mm 1.8 g

 Nikon 50mm 1.8 g F/1.8

The most important things to know about Nikon 50mm 1.8 g:

  1. The lens can be used on Nikon FX (D600, D3s, D800, D750 and others) and DX (D3300, D90, D5300) cameras.
  2. The lens has a focusing Silent Wave Motor(SWM), which means that the lens can be used on all Nikon DSLR cameras. The autofocus system of Nikkor 50mm 1.8 g will work even on entry-level non-motorized cameras:  D40, D40x, D60, D3000, D3100, D3200, D3300, D5000, D5100, D5200, D5300 and D5500.
  3. The lens is marked with «G» letter. This means that Nikon 50 1.8 g has no aperture ring; the aperture is controlled only from the camera. This fact does not allow using the lens with old film cameras. This is not a disadvantage, but a tribute to time. Today almost all lenses are produced without aperture ring.
  4. Nikon 50mm 1.8 g filter size is 58 mm. The lens is made of plastic, the assembly is good. The bayonet mount is made of metal. All 50mm 1.8 g Nikon lenses are manufactured in China.
  5. Nikon 50mm 1.8 g doesn’t have internal focusing. But at the same time, the lens “trunk” does not rotate and extend during focusing.
  6. Autofocus speed is high. But always remember that the speed and accuracy of autofocus is also depends on the used camera and a number of other factors. The lens has a focusing distance scale. The distance is indicated in meters and feet. There is also a scale for depth of field for f/16.
  7. On the lens body you can find “M/A – M” focus switch. Autofocus works with full-time manual focus priority in “M/A” mode. “M/A” mode is very easy to use – there is no need to additionally switch the lens to the “M” mode if you want to use manual focus or to correct autofocus manually.
  8. The minimum focusing distance is 45 cm; maximum reproduction ratio is 1:6.7. I can’t say that Nikon 50mm 1.8 g is a macro lens, but at the same time it is very easy to take pictures of small objects.
  9. The angle of view on Nikon DX cameras is equivalent to 75mm lens on Nikon FX cameras. It allows you to use Nikkor 50mm 1.8 g on cropped DX cameras as a portrait lens (classic focal length for portraiture begins from 80 mm).
  10. F/1.8 – is a great aperture for low light photography. But if you want more fast lens, you need to look at its brothers – Nikon 50mm 1.4G AF-S and Nikon 50mm 1.4D AF.

best nikon 50mm

 Nikon 50mm 1.8 g F/1.8

Image quality

Nikon 50mm 1.8 g is very sharp even at f/1.8. Maximum sharpness is achieved at f/5.6. The contrast is very good. The lens is free from ghosts and flare. It has a smooth bokeh, not as rough as Nikon 50mm 1.8d has. You can achieve 14-pointed stars on bright points of light using closed aperture values. Chromatic aberrations are quite strong up to f/2.8. In general, the image quality is high.


Nikon 50mm 1.8 g – is a very good lens. It is suitable as a budget portrait lens for DX cameras, has good sharpness and color reproduction. I think that Nikkor 50mm 1.8 g is the best price/quality 50mm lens for Nikon.

Nikon 50mm 1.8 g price is 217$.

Here are more Nikon 50mm 1.8 g sample images.

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